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The Great Yakima, Washington Hop Harvest

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Jared Rouben

Love food and beer so much that I went to culinary school only to end up becoming a brewer for Goose Island. Now I get to make great beer and do brewing collaborations with amazing Chicago chefs.

Last week I ventured out to Yakima, Washington to go to Hop School. Yes, there is actually a school to learn about hops and of course it had to be in the northwest (where the majority of domestic hops are produced). Myself and two other Goose Island brewers headed to the campus of Hop Union to listen to Lectures from the likes of Ralph Olsen (former CEO of Hop Union) and Steve Dresler (head brewer of Sierra Nevada) discuss hop utilization, storage, and production.

Thankfully the education went beyond the classrooms and into the hop farms. We had the opportunity to explore the hop fields and check out new experimental hops and see how some of our favorites like Citra and Cascade were being grown. And on a personal note I got to check out the farmer's market in Washington, which were incredible. The apples, heirloom tomatoes, peaches, and peppers were delicious and very cheap. Another added bonus was the ability to enjoy a lot of beers from microbreweries that don't distribute to the Midwest like Ninkasi, Pike, and Deschutes. I included some pictures from my trip and as you will see I got a little hop crazy.

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